All posts in “wedding planner”

Making the most of the Holiday Season!

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This time of year can be hectic for all of us – juggling family activities, parties, holiday plans – and managing your business as well. It’s typically a busy time for corporate or social holiday parties, but it’s also a great time to expand your event business to include side services that can bring in extra revenue this time of year. It also can spread us thin as we try to “fit it all in” in a short period of time. Here are a few tips that might help you manage and grow your event business and stay happy and healthy while you do it. Happy Holidays to all and best of luck in your event career!

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IMG_7592What other services could I provide to enhance my social event business?
Try providing holiday home decorating —table accent items, ideas on theming for in-home parties or holidays. Stationery items such as invitations or announcements are also a good way to round out services you can offer to your social clients. You may consider offering gift items such as welcome baskets or party favors. Think of the accoutrements to the party, from favors to decorations, and try to find a niche that you can showcase your services with. You may offer to put up their existing decor or add to it with some unique items.  Don’t underestimate the value that an event professional can bring to the table to add just the right amount of glitz, glamor or nostalgia to holiday decorating!

IMG_7623What’s the best way to get my name out to provide extra decorating or support services?
Social media can be a great way to strut your stuff and get visuals out to those who can spread the word. If you are decorating your own home, snap some photos on your phone, Instagram them and hashtag #holidaydecorator or #needhelpwithyourdecorating? or the like. Let friends and family know that you love making a space come to life and are willing to take the burden off them to make their home or office festive during the winter season. Consider a winter theme to extend the life of decor past the end of December and offer to go back to take any decor down and refresh for an early spring look in February. Every season can offer a chance to spruce up an environment, so share you own work and plant the seed!

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I have some really high-end clients that seem frazzled over the holidays – they just are overwhelmed by their responsibilities and activities. Is there a way that an organized person like me can help?
Absolutely! Focus on the PLANNER of the title “event planner” and offer to organize their social calendar, shopping list, donation portfolio and the like. You can create a spreadsheet of their gift recipients and keep track of purchases to keep them on track if they are trying to be equitable among family members. You can log in all the charities they want to give to and even arrange cards and envelopes and a timeline for sending donations. You could also be a shopper for any families they are donating to and use your creativity to wrap the gifts in a festive way. If you have some extra time and want to fill in the gaps using your organizational skills and creativity, this could be a fun way to add value to your social client relationships!

IMG_4696Between all the projects and responsibilities I have, how can I maintain my sanity and health during the holidays?
Most event professionals I know are multi-taskers, “can-do”, “go-getter” types of people. We say “yes”, “sure”, “no problem” when we are asked to help out or take on another project. Get your weekly planner or calendar out and write in the times you will focus on YOU! Whether it’s the early morning or afternoon walk to start your day in solitude or recharge or the quiet time with a friend or partner to share the successes or frustrations of the day or week. Try to make it daily, but even a weekly visit with a friend – to shop and chat, killing two birds with one stone, as they say – can help re-align and re-charge you. Consider a mediation series like the ones Deepak Chopra offers to refocus your thoughts and renew your energy. Taking time out for yourself is not an option, but it’s a must to keep you at your best for everyone else. Nutrition should also play a big factor in your day – drinking plenty of water and eating healthy foods to stay feeling good and at perform your best!

The Balancing Act

Coffee Break

Best-selling author and SEI Executive Director, Jill Moran, CSEP shares her insight on balancing the many responsibilities of an event or wedding professional. From family, to scheduling, to friends and downtime – she’ll share her insight on how to fit it all in and make choices that work for you.

Is it really necessary to have a sitter when I work? My child is only six months old and sleeps most of the time.
If you are serious about your business, you should approach it as you would any other job. You may be able to squeeze a little time in if you have a long and deep sleeper, but you may need to plan for the worst-case scenario. In most cases, you may not be allowed to take your child to an outside office and work at the same time, so why should you expect to have one ear on the monitor and one on the phone with a client in your home office? Noise from children or pets and other distractions in your home will make it harder for you to portray yourself as a true professional. If you can’t bear to bring your little one to a day-care center, consider an in-home helper who can attend to his or her needs immediately. It will take the pressure off you when you are in “work” mode and help set the stage of professionalism for your clients and family.
I have so much work to do; do I really need to take a night off to play? Plus, I love my job!
Yes! Take a break! You deserve to refresh your spirit and body, and it will allow you to come back with new ideas and a fresh approach to each wedding. If you love the business so much, consider a visit to a flower show (you will be getting ideas about the latest blooms and arrangement options), museum (creative ideas on which to base future wedding themes), or the gym to work out (you will look and feel great when you visit your clients). Even the Bible suggests a day of rest, so plan to work it in weekly if at all possible.
How should I schedule my workday? Is it necessary to work from nine to five?
It’s not essential to “clock in and clock out” of your home-based office. By all means, fit in that exercise class or trip to the dentist when you can, even if it’s at 10 a.m. or mid-afternoon. That is the beauty of having your own business. A flexible schedule is one of the best perks, and you will more than make up for it when you work fourteen-hour days on the weekends during a busy wedding season!
Should I give up my weekly tennis match or book group meeting with my friends because of my new company?
Not at all. Incorporate your lifestyle into your new business. Maybe you want to pick and choose the outings that mean the most to you, or make the most sense with your new work schedule. If weekends will be busy and balancing all your extracurricular activities more challenging, focus on the activities that will help maximize your time. Consider attending an exercise class with a group of pals, or play golf with both a client and a buddy to meet both your personal and work goals in one fell swoop!

 

Student Highlight – Julie M. Jones, That’s A Wrap! Events

Julie M. Jones  - That's A Wrap! Events

Julie M. Jones – That’s A Wrap! Events

SEI has given me the opportunity to further my career as an event planner through their online courses, which provide priceless education from highly-acclaimed, International Special Events Society (ISES) certified professionals.  For anyone who has event planning in their blood (like me), the suite of courses offered by SEI is a must!  My life as an event planner, wife, and mother make it difficult to attend formalized “brick and mortar” classes.  The flexibility offered by SEI within their online programs allows me to “do it all” within my schedule demands and constraints.  I cannot say enough about how invaluable this education has been for the goals I have set for myself and my company.”

What made you choose SEI?

I happened upon SEI while performing an internet search on ways I could further my knowledge as an event planner.  I never do anything half-heartedly and event planning is no exception.  I wanted to make sure that I was fully informed and on top of current trends, planning, operations, and management in relation to event planning.  SEI was the perfect option for me.  Not only were the program topics right on point, the flexibility offered by the online classes allowed me to work them into my hectic schedule as an event planner, wife, and mother.

What do you do currently for work and how does education fit in with your career goals?

Event planning is my encore career and although I have years of hands on experience, I want to differentiate myself through knowledge and expertise and ultimately through certification as a CSEP.  SEI is the perfect starting point for this journey.

What do you like most in your courses?

I truly appreciate the interaction and feedback from the instructors during the courses.  They really want their students to understand the material and ultimately succeed in this industry.  Having the opportunity to review and speak to the other students’ work is another facet that I enjoy.  Sometimes it is difficult to open yourself up to new ideas and think “outside the box”.  The student to student interaction opened my eyes to other concepts and strategies that I might not have previously considered.

What do you wish to gain from your certificate?

Achieving certification from SEI will show my clients that I am completely serious about event planning and that I am not satisfied just resting on my laurels.  I am constantly striving for more knowledge within the industry, not only to remain relevant, but ultimately to bring additional value to my clients and their events.  My goal is to become a CSEP through ISES and, in my opinion, the classes offered by SEI are a very necessary part of that process.

Would you recommend this to others?

Absolutely!!  There are so many moving parts within any and every event, big and small.  SEI is teaching their students how to effectively and efficiently manage every aspect of the process. Their programs offer invaluable information from some of the event planning industry’s most trusted and acclaimed professionals.  This truly is a priceless education!

Here’s a look at some of Julie’s work at That’s A Wrap! Events!

Buffet Setting

Ceremony Arbor

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Career Tips: Becoming a Wedding Planner

HTSHBWedding2EdI am graduating from college and want to start my own business. Will brides be willing to hire someone who may seem young and inexperienced?

The best way to get hired is to begin as an apprentice with a more experienced planner. The early stages of a client relationship may include an initial meeting where you serve as an assistant to the seasoned planner. As the planning progresses, you will have the opportunity to show your value as you offer advice and take care of the countless details involved in the planning process. This is a great way to get a handle on the process while being under the watchful eye of a pro.

I am a teacher; could I run a wedding planning business as a second job, seeing that I have weekends and summers off? Is it even possible to juggle this new venture with an already-existing job?

It’s not only possible but advisable to consider another plan for income when you are just starting off in the wedding planning industry. You will want to have some financial support, whether it comes from another job, a loan, or a partner who helps with your living expenses while you get your company off the ground. Meetings with vendors and clients can be worked around a light or part-time day schedule. Weddings are often on weekends, when a typical Monday- through-Friday job would not interfere. Consider easing into your new business to keep your stress level down, at least when it comes to finances.

I just helped plan my sister’s wedding, and it was a great experience. How can I get my feet wet in the industry?

Consider approaching a church and asking if they have a day-of-event coordinator on staff. It may be a paid or volunteer job, but it will get you in the wedding mode quickly. Or, contact an established planner and ask if he or she needs help with setup on wedding days. Most planners would love to have an able and willing person who is passionate about the industry assisting them; a person who will treat the wedding process with the attention for detail that is necessary. Even if you aren’t paid for some early projects, it will give you the experience you need to launch your company and give you something to reference with a new client or prospect.

Are wedding consultants in demand today? Is it a growing industry?

While many industries go through slumps from time to time, for special event planners, the wedding market tends to remain consistent. Even if the economy takes a dip, weddings will still be celebrated and busy people will still call on professionals for advice and assistance. While budgets may be smaller, wedding planners can add value by offering ways to cut costs and still get a memorable wedding day. People still believe in the institution of marriage and celebrate this custom with a festive affair. With couples approaching their nuptials at a later age, both often employed and busy, hiring a wedding planner is a must! Destination and multicultural weddings have also become increasingly popular options for a specialized segment of the wedding planning industry, adding to the demand for experienced planners.

 

Career Tips: So you want to get serious about planning special events?!

Gene DeCosta, Root Catered Events

Gene DeCosta, Root Catered Events

Should I quit my job to start my own business?

Depending on the financial support or savings you currently have, it may make sense to begin your event business on a part-time basis. Many events can be done in the evenings or on weekends. You may be able to begin working with other seasoned planners to get your experience and once you have a solid working knowledge of the process, go out on your own. To move from a part-time to full-time commitment will take a solid client base that will guarantee repeat business and repeat income. You also need to consider the cost of health care and your fixed living expenses. Make sure your event business can offset these costs and put you in a positive cash-flow position.

 

I am not very organized and hate the minute details of things, but I love parties . . . can I be an event planner?

There are some basic skills that will be necessary to build a successful event planning business. Creativity is one of them, but organization and attention to detail come right behind. Building a successful business will require a good reputation and delivering excellent service. If the little details drive you crazy and you can’t be bothered to figure out how to “right” the “wrongs,” you may be better off filling your schedule with parties to attend, not plan. If you think you have what it takes but need some honing of skills or support in a few areas of business know-how, consider teaming up with someone who complements the skills you have.

How do I take my background in catering and launch my own event business?

It is helpful to have a background in hospitality or business if you want to focus on special events. You can take the training and experience you have and round it out with specific training in events or management from local colleges, universities, or at industry conferences.

I love all kinds of celebrations . . . what type of events should I focus on doing?

Plan to focus on the type of events that you are most comfortable with or have the most experience in. If you come from a corporate background, it may be easier for you to relate to the corporate market—and vice versa with a bride or groom if you have experience in social events. You already may know the lingo and the culture. Start with something you are familiar with and see where your successes take you. If you are chomping at the bit to make a big change, just get the training you need before taking the leap!